At Atlanta Housing (AH), we’re dedicated to opening doors to a better future for low-income Atlantans. We know this mission is more than just providing quality, affordable housing. Fulfilling our goal requires a multifaceted approach, which involves an investment in people, communities, and our environment.
Historically, low-income communities across the country have suffered disproportionately from adverse environmental conditions and lack environmentally-focused investment. According to both independent and federal research, this fact has presented a host of challenges for low-income earners, including negative health impacts, costly utility burdens, displacement, and more. So, to ensure greater equity among Atlanta’s low-income households and to do our part to protect the planet, we’ve placed a significant focus on environmental initiatives in our ongoing housing strategies and operations.
Efficiency Updates to Existing Properties
In 2015, when the City of Atlanta announced their clean building ordinance, AH was proud to be one of the first organizations in the city to be compliant. Each year, we report our energy and water consumption to the city, intending to benchmark and lower these numbers. Furthermore, in 2013, we joined the U.S. Dept. of Energy’s Better Buildings Challenge, which tasked us with reducing our portfolio-wide energy consumption by 20 percent within 10 years, and we’re already well on our way to exceeding that benchmark. We’ve reduced our energy efficiency by 15 percent —accumulating a total energy and water savings of almost $4.7 million.
To help achieve these environmental gains, we’ve focused on improvements to our AH-owned buildings, which have included water conservation upgrades, weatherization, HVAC upgrades, lighting replacements, and natural gas boilers.
According to our current Energy Star ratings, six of our 10 AH-owned buildings are performing better than our nationwide peers.
The Green Future in Community Planning
We’ve witnessed the impact that small changes have made and can make on our planet. As we look toward the future, we’re committed to pursuing monumental leaps toward environmental progress.
Funded in part by the Choice Neighborhoods Implementation Grant, AH is proud to make another leap forward with the state-of-the-art renovation of Roosevelt Hall. In the 1930s, AH originally constructed the building to serve the historic University Homes community (the nation’s first public housing development for African Americans). Now, the soon-to-be transformed hall will serve as a community center for the new University Choice Neighborhood. Designed to achieve LEED Gold certification, Roosevelt Hall will showcase sustainable design elements, including the use of energy-efficient lighting and HVAC systems, permeable pavers, and a new rain garden to reduce runoff. It will also house a new 15,000-gallon cistern that will collect rainwater for non-potable reuse.
Additionally, AH is proud to co-partner on the Englewood development initiative, which is pursuing SITES certification. Benefiting from another Choice Neighborhoods Implementation Grant, the revitalization of the Bowen Homes campus will include more environmentally-focused initiatives, including a workforce training program for energy sector jobs.
Growing Our Green Practices
In our quest to become better stewards of the Earth, we’ve also shined the light inward, examining ways to closer align our own operations with sustainability principles and priorities.
While Roosevelt Hall is just one shining example of our commitment to sustainability, AH has several affordable housing developments in the pipeline; and with each, we’re placing importance on contracting vendors who also uphold environmental standards.
We’ve also partnered with Georgia Power to promote energy awareness among our residents, landlords, property managers, and employees. Additionally, several AH inspectors recently received certification in “green” home energy audits.
Partners in Progress
Saving our planet is an ambitious undertaking—in which we are proud to play our part—but we recognize our efforts are more substantial when we work together. This is why we’re grateful to collaborate with the City of Atlanta, HUD, Georgia Power, development and design firms such as Moody Nolan and Epsten Group, community groups, and other committed partners.
Together, we can all help actualize a promising future where everyone has access to quality, affordable housing while safeguarding a livable future for our planet HOME.